What is ‘me time’? An exploratory investigation into the qualitative characteristics of me time for parents of preschoolers. (2022)
Me time (independent leisure) is one of the least researched phenomena in the leisure literature, with no current operational definition based on parent perspectives and descriptions. The aim of this thesis was to explore parent’s perspectives of me time; more specifically, the qualitative characteristics of me time the leisure activities they participate in, and the frequency of and satisfaction in their me time. Seventy-nine parents of preschoolers were asked about their perceptions and experiences of me time. The results showed that 70% of parents believed that purposeful me time meant that it had to be a solo experience that left them with feelings of fulfilment and enjoyment. They reported this was because they were able to choose when to engage and what activities to do in their me time. 25% of parents believed me time replenished their physical, emotional, and spiritual resources, to better face the challenges of parenting and everyday life. When asked what types of activities parents engage in during me time, the majority (70%) of parents described mindful, artistic, physical, and media-related activities. Unsurprisingly, the amount of time parents engaged in me time was positively associated with their satisfaction in me time. Our study opens avenues for researchers to continue exploring me time and work towards operationally defining this phenomenon. Future work may wish to extend the novel protocol developed in this study, expand its questions to include outcome measures, and extend it to other parent populations. Me time, especially for mothers, is overlooked within literature and society; furthering this research could shift systemic and ideological perspectives on leisure that improves parents’ psychological and physiological health and wellbeing. Further research should first focus on extending the protocol to understand me time more and to work towards a definition of me time. Additionally, there is a need to investigate me time experiences and outcomes for diverse populations, as this is severely lacking within the literature to date.
KeywordsMe time, leisure, phenomenology, thematic analysis, diversity
RightsAll Rights Reserved
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